OPW launches ‘1916 Easter Rising in St Stephen’s Green’ Exhibition in St. Stephen’s Green

14 March 16

The Office of Public Works is delighted to announce the official opening today (14 March 2016) of the ‘1916 Easter Rising in St. Stephen’s Green Exhibition’ in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin.

The exhibition, which consists of twenty beautifully illustrated outdoor exhibition panels, tell the story of these significant events that helped change the course of Irish history. Significant figures in Irish history including Commandant Michael Mallin, Countess Markievicz, members of the Irish Citizen Army and Cumann na mBan took over St Stephens Green on the 24th April 1916, for a number of days, as part of the Rising in Dublin. Trenches were dug; barricades set-up, a field hospital established in the bandstand, prisoners secured in the potting sheds and thus the Green became a battlefield in the centre of Dublin.

An interesting aspect of this exhibition is the key role women played in the Rising including Dr Kathleen Lynn, Sergeant Madeline ffrench Mullen and Nora O Daly among others. A number of civilians were injured and killed around St Stephens Green, many of whom had come out to watch events, as they unfolded. Nearby Mercers Hospital recorded 16 dead and 278 wounded civilians.

Speaking at the opening this afternoon, Commissioner John McMahon, OPW said "This is but one of many significant events being undertaken by the OPW in its own capacity and in conjunction with other agencies to mark the centenary and we hope that this exhibition will help in the understanding of our shared history and be enjoyed by all our visitors to St. Stephen's Green Park during 2016. I think every schoolchild in the country knows that a truce was observed twice daily so James Kearney, our Park Superintendent could feed the ducks. This wonderful historic 22-acre park continues to play an important role in society today, with over 5 million visitors annually and this exhibition will add to the enjoyment for all".

The exhibition runs from 14 March 2016 until 31 December 2016.

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For further information please contact Colette Davis, OPW Press Officer at 087 947 5552 or colette.davis@opw.ie

Notes to Editors:

Photography from the event will be available from sales@fennell-photography.ie

The Exhibition will run from 14 March – 31 December 2016. Text of the panels by Margaret Gormley, Chief Park Superintendent and Gerry Donoghue, Park Manager, OPW. Design and artwork by Paul Francis Design.

Free audio app to download on the entire history of St Stephens Green Park, visit www.ststephensgreenpark.ie or ring 01 475 7816.

Some facts about the Green during the 1916 Rising:

• St Stephens Green Park was taken over by a combination of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army under the command of Michael Mallin, a former British Soldier and a leading figure of the Irish Citizen Army, on Monday 24th April at midday and that the public had to be evacuated by the Park Constables

• A Witness Statement from 1916, by James O Shea recalled the shocked reaction of some of the Park’s staff – ‘The poor gardener on duty thought the end of the world had come when he demanded the keys. I got busy getting the people out of the gardens’

• Trenches were dug at the four main entrances and opposite Dawson and Hume Street. ‘We made a shelf for bombs and the shotguns by cutting into the earth’

• A .303 Vickers machine gun was positioned in the Shelbourne Hotel overlooking the Green, which had an effective range of 2km and was capable of firing 600 rounds per minute

• A truce was observed twice daily so that Mr James Kearney, Park Superintendent could feed the ducks.

• Countess Markievicz and officers had tea in the Lodge and when asked about payment by the Superintendent Kearney, is reported to have said, send the bill to the ‘Irish Free State’.